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Full text of "History And Human Relation"

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.the Inside of Charles Fs mind. The technical historian
rather tries to see how far he can understand why
Charles I acted as he did—seeks to gain understanding
by putting the man in his age, viewing him in his proper
context, examining his education, his environment, and
his place in the historical process—generally aspiring
therefore to discover how his action was historically
conditioned. The historian, in so far as he moves from
narrative to explanation, is the student of that necessity
which conditions—though we must never say that it
totally determines—human action. Therefore he Jbas
to begin by seeing Charles I, so to speak, entangled in
a whole network of historical necessity; remembering,
however, that Charles is not an inanimate object, he
is a real live man entangled in the network, so that his
actions can never be quite predictable.

There is then a certain system of necessity in which
human beings at any place and period are not imprisoned
but more or less involved. In the somewhat technical
sense in which we are now considering it, an interpreta-
tion of history must be regarded as a thesis concerning
the organisation of that whole system of necessity. Of
course an Englishman, by great endeavour, might acquire
the art of thinking in French, and even the son of a
duke, if he has great imaginative sympathy, might
admirably portray in a work of fiction something of the
outlook of a coal-miner. In other words, people are
not entirely fastened and fixed within the limits that
have helped to shape their minds. There exist some
conditioning circumstances, however, which seem to be
particularly hard and inescapable. Marxism and the